What's the most when you look for a new salon / stylist? Here's my list.
1) Quality of Work. I want a stylist who knows what he/she is doing. I usually look for someone who is a high level colorist, because when I do go to a salon for color, it's usually considered corrective. I need someone who knows what they're doing; I can screw up my own hair at home for far less money.
2) Reputation. This goes along with quality of work - a good salon / stylist will have a good reputation. There are always exceptions, because there's a fine line between genius and insanity. But overall, I want a salon that has a good reputation, not one where everyone hears the name and has a horror story.
3) Location. I don't mind having to drive an hour to get to a salon, but there is a definitely a limit.
4) Products. The brands of color a salon uses is a factor. Some brands simply work better on my hair, and other brands have shade options that are non traditional. I'm willing to try a new salon that uses one of my favorites, even if it's further away, than someplace that's closer but uses a brand that doesn't offer a shade I want.
5) General Vibe. That might sound silly to some, but I like to go into a place and get a feeling for it. First impressions count.
6) Online info. I don't understand why a salon wouldn't have an online presence. It doesn't have to be an elaborate website, a simple Facebook page showing pictures of the stylists' work, basic info like hours, location, products used.
7) Scheduling / # of Clients. If my appointment is at 10am, I get annoyed sitting in the waiting area until the stylist shows up at 10:30. Just as a client should be on time for their appointment, so should the stylist. The front desk should also have their stylists' schedules. Don't schedule an appointment for me at 10am if the stylist doesn't come in until noon that day.
I also want to know how many clients a stylist will take care of during my appointment. I understand they may have two or even three clients in at the same time - one's getting a cut, one's processing, one's under the dryer - but if a stylist is juggling too many clients something is going to go wrong. Utilizing an assistant is great, unless the assistant is helping multiple stylists. An extra 5-10 minutes with chemicals on your head can be the difference between what you want and a disaster.
Price doesn't really make my list, but I do like to see the prices to get an idea.I know the going rates in my area. Some master colorists get mega bucks, but I don't mind paying more if I get what I want.
Now it's time for me to go check out two new salons!